For Coaches who are interested in designing the best flag football plays, these 4 principals will help you build a strong playbook.
Misdirection. This is the art of confusing the defense and masking the true intent of your play. Build in plays with natural counters, draws & fakes for the running backs. Use crossing patterns and underneath routes along with play-action for receivers. Don’t overdo it, this is not an acting performance! Instead try to build quick confusion with a small misdirection then capitalize on it before the defense can recover.
Isolation. Setup your formation so that one of your players is alone on one side of the field with a single defender covering her. the concept is that you are creating a 1-on-1 situation where your player only has the beat one defender to make a big play. If you can get a mismatch in athletic skill or use misdirection to move the defender out of positions, it will increase your chances at a succesful play even more.
Overload. Overloading is when then offense stacks multiple players on one side of the formation or runs multiple players in to one area of the field. To achieve this, design your formation and passing routes so that 2 or more players are running into an area covered by only 1-2 defenders. You don’t want to have your players too close to each other, but rather they should operate on either side of the zone or area they are moving to this splitting the defender and forcing the defense to choose to cover one of the other.
Diversity. Design each play and formation so that multiple options can be used while giving the same look to the defense. This way the defense will read the play and assumes you will be repeating what you did previously. They will be out of position giving the offense a distinct advantage for that down.
Once you have designed your plays it’s a good idea to print them and hand them out to your players. Make sure the players understand what the play is conceptually design to achieve, in simple terms. For example you might say, we are faking a hand-off to Billy while Johnny runs behind the defender for a pass. As the players get older and learn more flag football strategies, your explanations can become more detailed.
While these principles will help build solid plays, keep in mind that in the end it comes down to execution. No matter how good your system is, you will not find much success if the kids on your team fail to execute the plays well. Remember to practice and explain each play thoroughly with your team.